Daily Bible Readings – Sunday, August 25, 2013

Psalm Prayer: 146

Prayer Point. Presidents, kings, elections and governments come and go, but only God is eternal. He, not princes nor governments, holds the world together.  Meditate on the description of our faithful God in this psalm, praise him for who he is, and pray for the faith to trust him during these turbulent times.

John 8:12-20

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? Using the following background as a guide.

Background. Jesus revealed himself in a series of important “I am” statements that are recorded in the gospel of John (see John 6:35; 6:51; 9:5; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5). In today’s reading he declares “I am the light of the world.”

You will notice that the Pharisees challenge Jesus’ authority on two grounds: the identity of his witnesses and the identity of his Father. Jewish Law, in which the Pharisees were regarded as experts, required that all testimony needed to be confirmed by two or three witnesses in order to be considered valid.

Second, you might remember that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit before his mother, Mary, married Joseph. Jesus’ detractors are questioning the legitimacy of his birth by asking, “who is your father?”

Pay close attention to …

  • What Jesus being the light of the world” means for those who follow him.
  • The witnesses to whom Jesus appeals to in validating his testimony.
  • How Jesus handles the question of the identity of his Father.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

Galatians 3:23-4:7

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Sons were the exclusive heirs to their family estate in the Roman world. The boy from age six to sixteen was placed under the care of a slave who made sure that he went to class and stayed out of trouble. He was under the supervision of this slave until he came of age and received his inheritance.

Paul, the author of the letter to the Galatians, is comparing our experience to that of a young Roman heir. The slave that served as our guardian was the Law. We did not come of age and receive our full inheritance until Jesus (“this faith came”) entered the world. It was at that point that we went from a slave, the experience of the heir while he was still a child, to a full heir and son of God.

The Law of God did several things to us. It restrained us through fear of punishment. We were held back from acting according to all the dark desires of our heart. Second, the Law reminded us that we needed a Savior. The Law of God said that anyone who failed to keep it, that would be all of us, are under the curse of death. None of us is able to keep the law’s demands because we are born with corrupt hearts. The Law’s purpose is force us to face our broken selves, see the curse that we are under and create in us a need for Jesus.

Some may be put off by the fact that Paul speaks only of sons. This only reflects the cultural reality that only sons were eligible to receive the family inheritance. Imagine how radical it was for Paul to address the church made up of men and women, Jew and Gentile, slave and free and call them all “sons of God.”

Pay close attention to …

  • The contrast between our lives before Jesus’ coming and after.
  • How Jesus freed us from the curse.
  • What the Holy Spirit does for us once we go from being a slave to a full son or daughter of God.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Repent. How have I failed to obey what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

2 Samuel 24:1-2, 10-25 

Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you are reading.

Read. Read the passage slowly either alone or in a group and answer the following questions:

Listen. What is the passage saying? What are the main points? You can use the following background to help you understand the main points of this passage.

Background. Why do you think it was a sin for David to count his fighting men? Why does David choose three days of plague as his punishment? Do you think it was fair for Israel to be punished for David’s sin? What is it that brings an end to the plague? Who was it that played the role of Christ and interceded for his people? What accompanied the prayers that caused God to end the plague?

David declares he will not offer God a sacrifice that cost him nothing. We look forward into the future when Jesus said the same thing. He offered a sacrifice that cost him more than money, it cost him his life.

Obey. What is God asking me to do?

Share. What can I share and with whom can I share it?

Repent. How have I failed to obey and share what God is asking me to do? Confess those failures to God and ask for his forgiveness.

Believe. Which of God’s promises would I need to believe in order to obey and share what I have read?

Final Prayer. Pray for the faith to believe the promises of God so that you might obey and share what you have learned.

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